Teaching Reading in the Social Studies

Article excerpt

The social studies teacher needs to have clear goals of what is to be accomplished when pupils read subject matter. Methods of teaching should guide pupils to comprehend and understand ideas in print. Needed word recognition skills and meaningful learnings are important for pupils to develop necessary skills in higher levels of cognition in the social studies.

Social studies teachers need to emphasize reading instruction across the curriculum. The teaching of reading may occur simultaneously as learners extract vital facts, concepts, and generalizations from print discourse in ongoing lessons and units in the social studies (Ediger, 1995).

Goals in Reading Social Studies Content

Social studies teachers need to be instructors of reading. Learners may acquire more information, than otherwise would be the case, if they comprehend print content in a meaningful manner (Ediger, 1994).

What are selected methods to assist pupil progress in reading social studies content?

1. Introduce new words from the selection to be read from the basal, by printing these in neat manuscript letters on the chalkboard. Each word should be printed within a sentence contextually. Have pupils look at each new word carefully and have them use each word in a sentence orally. Use the experiences to provide background information and readiness for reading the new selection from the basal. To extend readiness, the teacher needs to discuss the related pictures in the basal. Pupils might then have questions pertaining to what they wish to have answered from the sequential reading activity. These and other questions may be discussed in the follow up activity after reading the new selection from the social studies basal (Ediger, 1996a).

2. Assist pupils to do peer reading whereby each pupil in the small group reads orally to others. The content may then be discussed within the peer group.

3. Initiate peer tutoring involving a proficient reader and two or three others who need help in reading. The peer tutor may read orally as the others follow along in their basals. He/she might also guide pupils to recognize unknown words (Ediger, 1996b).

4. Permit an aid, under teacher guidance, to read orally the needed selection from the basal, as others follow along in their texts. The aid, with appropriate inservice education, should also listen to pupils read orally and discuss main ideas read. Retired teachers can be excellent aids in the classroom (Ediger, 1998).

5. Tape-record the selection to be read. This oral presentation should be clear, articulate, and at a rate of speed that slower readers may follow along with in their own textbooks. Each pupil when following the cassette recording may notice, especially, the new words in discourse. Later, pupils may read the same subject matter and, hopefully, read the content with quality comprehension. An aid or a good reader might also make the cassette with clarity in oral reading.

6. Use individualized reading whereby each pupil may choose a library book to read that relates directly to the ongoing unit of study. Comprehension of contents in the social studies by the reader of the library book may be shared with classmates in the discussion setting.

7. Relevant spelling words for pupils to master may come from the introduced new words by the social studies teacher (refer to number one teaching of reading suggestion). These words in spelling may be used as enrichment or bonus words in spelling. Pupils can be challenged to master each word with correct spelling. Reading and spelling might well be correlated.

8. Determine ways to guide pupils in using content from social studies reading with related writing experiences, such as the following:

(a) outlining and summarizing ideas read

(b) writing ideas read to compose rhymed and unrhymed poetry

(c) keeping diary entries and logs of what has been studied

(d) journaling experiences by writing impressions, facts, concepts, and generalizations read

(e) developing and labeling a bulletin board display

(f) making a chart and writing items underneath each of the following categories such as the setting, characterization, major events, and time frame of these happenings, read from social studies script. …